jfl42 toronto

The top 10 comedians to catch at JFL42 in Toronto

Just For Laughs 42 (JFL42) is back in Toronto from September 22nd - October 1st, bringing fan favourites like Trevor Noah, Chris D'Elia, Jim Jefferies, and Jim Gaffigan to stages across the city. You get the sense that JFL had a bit of a renaissance this year, with shows like Roast Battle garnering a lot of play on social media, which only bodes well for this iteration of the fest.

These are my picks for the top comedians to check out at JFL42 in Toronto this year.

K. Trev Wilson
K. Trev's star is rising FAST. Having crushed his performances at JFL's Roast Battle a month ago, it seems like it's just a matter of time before we see him on Conan or Fallon. Armed with a recurring role on Letterkenney, K. Trev's simply too dedicated to be denied for much longer.

Tig Notaro
Tig doesn't give up easily. In the span of four months, she survived a serious bacterial infection, her mom's passing, and was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. When Louis CK heard Tig make fun of her disease on stage, he fell in love with the performance and they partnered up to sell the recording on his website. I like her style because she's never in a rush - she tells her jokes in her own time.

Chris D'Elia
Some people think that Chris rose to fame as a direct result of his father's connections - don't buy it for a second. Chris earned the top spot on Laugh Factory's YouTube page because his crowd work resonates just as much as his material does.

Jackie Kashian
If I could only see three shows this year, this would be one of them. I find Jackie's standup inspiring. She's not acting, she's not pretending to be someone she's not, she just is on stage. Her podcast, The Dork Forest, has been running for 10 years and has amassed over three million downloads.

Derek Seguin
It takes a special kind of performer to receive a standing ovation in front of 3,500 strong at an HBO JFL gala. Sure, his enthusiastic Franglais probably has something to do with it, but not everything. His joke about choosing divorced over separated when touring Canada at 0:35 in the below clip is genius.

Ronny Chieng
In a very short period of time, Ronny has put together quite the career. He's been invited to open for Louis CK and Dave Chappelle, was selected to be a correspondent on The Daily Show, and has amassed four one-hour specials. With that kind of work ethic and hard-earned connections, Ronny's career seems poised to take off in a big way.

SIRIUS XM Top Comic Finals
What would you do with $25,000.00? After a competitive tour across the country, SiriusXM used audience voting to decide which contenders would move onto the finals. My pick to win this year's tournament is Graham Clark because of the way he uses muffin trays (jump to 3:42).

Maria Bamford
In 2014, she was named Best Club Comic at the American Comedy Awards. Earlier this year, Colbert called her his "favourite stand-up on planet Earth." What makes her body of work that much more inspiring is that she also has bipolar II disorder.

Sinbad
You have to respect any comic who's still going strong after starting on Star Search. Since then, he's completed a USO tour with Hillary Clinton, been panned by Maxim, and even beat the tax man; all of which could have resulted in an early demise. From what I've seen, and considering the topics he covers, I'd say this is going to be one of the more interesting performances of the festival.

Todd Barry
There aren't many headliners that would risk going on an all-crowd work tour, and it's just another reason that comedy aficionados will come out in droves to support him. Like the best comics on this list, Todd is Todd on stage, and his fans love him for it. Sit in the front row at your own peril; you just might be handed a mic.

Let us know which JFL42 shows you're most excited to check out in the comments.

About the Author: This is Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third-person. My blog, Diary of a Stand-up Comedian, walks you through the up's and down's (they're mostly down's, really) in my quest to become a killer comic in Toronto.


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Arts

The Space Project makes it easy for artists to show their work all over Toronto

Toronto just got a massive outdoor mural with work from almost 100 artists

Toronto swimming pool is being totally transformed by washed up meatballs

Artists are transforming a Toronto neighbourhood with colourful works of art

Someone is driving around Toronto in a giant metal rat

The 10 most famous people from Toronto

Someone with a bag on their head has been giving away free art in Toronto

French bookstore reopens at new location in Toronto after nearly shutting down for good